“The drive for power, self-advancement, and dominance is in all of us to a greater or lesser degree. Unfortunately in this land of virtually unlimited opportunity, there are growing numbers of character-disordered individuals. The biggest reason that our country as a whole is losing its character is because there are fewer and fewer people of sound character inhabiting this great land of ours.”
In his closing words of this landmark book, Dr. Simon suggests that a cure for America’s loss of upright character must be the lifelong task of character building, Citing Author Scott Peck, he says “loving is not a feeling, an act or a state of mind. It’s a behavior…”
To expand on this, he says that regardless of the life one began, each of us is a prisoner of their own natural abilities and shortcomings they are given at birth. Then we find ourselves strangers in our own lives as we try to figure out, not only how to stand as an infant must, but also how to defend ourselves and get along in society.
To do this, we have to endure a lot of trying experiences. Depending on how you were brought up, and who nurtured you, you will get your basic idea of what’s right and wrong.
A friend related the following story to me:
“I was brought up by my mother, who by divorce was single. Though we always struggled with money, my mother insisted that at no time ever was it okay for me to steal anything ever. She herself was as honest and good a person as there ever was. As my life unfolds, I see people who were brought up in houses with both parents, with two incomes, and even many additional family members to add to their sense of actual value.”
They told me they had been raised to be honest under every circumstance, despite their meager beginnings, but then witnessed others with substantially more given to them, feel that somehow it was okay to steal or take all you could. Their mother had taught them never to steal, although those with more seemed entitled to steal if they felt like it.
They continued to reflect, “One of my best friends told me a story about his experience with a contest while he was working at a movie theater in college. He was working in the refreshment stand at the biggest movie theater around. The managers were having a contest on who could sell the most buttery topping for an extra eighty cents per popcorn buying moviegoer. He said that he had figured out that in order to win the contest, for which there was a substantial monetary prize, he only had to put in the extra money himself for each customer to ensure the sale. So he did. He used his own money and made up the difference per customer out of his own pocket, and won the much larger cash prize. He told me that when he let one of his aunts know about his strategy, she congratulated him for thinking like one of the family.”
So my friend’s story illustrates how someone coming from a meager background might have a stronger desire to be honest despite the circumstances, than someone who felt somehow entitled. In this case the desire to win and get the money, even and maybe even especially, if it’s clever or shrewd, to look upon dishonesty for personal advantage as being acceptable within your family values.
Each Person Must Come To Their Own Awakening
“Anyone’s rise to a higher plane of existence can only come as the result of a full self-awakening… It is the free choice to take up this burden or cross that defines love. And it is the willingness and commitment of a person to carry the cross of love until death that opens the door to a higher plane of existence.”
– George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D.
In his closing words, Dr. Simon points out that regardless of how we started out life, with a silver spoon or with no spoon at all, that each of us has choices and decisions to make that will manifest our personal ideas about how to live out life.
We each have the choice to be a person of good character and to attain mastery over our most basic instincts.
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